Summary: We can very easily get very judgmental of the wandering sheep. These people make bad choices and get into trouble. But let's see how the Great Shepherd views these wanderers.
Passage: Matthew 18:10-14
Intro: One of the amazing things about us is that we can take a vice and turn it into a virtue.
1. and we are especially good at this when it comes to attitudes.
2. read about love, forgiveness, grace and we believe it.
3. but we also read about discipline and exhortation and “speaking the truth in love.”
4. and then we decide that certain attitudes that come with the confrontation of sin are OK.
5. whenever we find ourselves mired in a sin we have convinced ourselves is not a sin, we need to come back to God’s Word for a reality check.
6. Jesus is continuing the teaching of last week, and really applying it.
7. what is our attitude to be toward “the little ones”, and what attitudes are really dangerous?
I. The Judgmental Attitude in General
1. Jesus identified “little ones” in
vv 1-9 as those who have chosen the path of humility.
2. in making that choice, these people will not necessarily be popular in the worldly system.
3. think about the world’s rating system for a moment.
Il) what you can do with a ball, whether throwing or hitting or shooting. How nice your face is. How large you are, without being too large. How smooth your vocal cords are.
4. frankly, in our day, character hardly matters at all.
Il) “I’m not going to make character an issue.”
5. and of course, our tendency as the potentially proud is to “look down” at those around us. “to despise, to deem as unimportant.”
6. there is something very comparative going on here.
7. if we are honest with ourselves, we recognize that we often rejoice in someone else’s shortcoming, because it makes us look better.
Il) the whole idea of competitive sports is based on this idea.
PP Larry Fitzgeral 2
8. the problem is that our view of others starts in a different place than God’s.
9. our view starts with pride, and a need to promote ourselves.
10. God’s view is hinted at here in v10
11. guardian angels? Not necessarily taught here.
12. but what is taught is that God has a very protective, very paternal view of these who are part of His family.
13. in fact, His view actually begins with humility. What?
14. we don’t think of God as humble, but He is.
PP Philippians 2:7. Notice the choice.
15. Jesus had every right to see Himself as superior, because He is!
16. but he “emptied himself, humbled himself” Why?
17. because we were in desperate need, and He loved of enough to fill that need.
18. so in general, we need to be vigilant for the attitude of pride that morphs into self-righteous judgmentalism
19. but let’s get more specific.
II. The Judgmental Attitude in Specific
1. Jesus uses a parable, setting up an imaginary sheep-owner with 100 sheep. V12
2. we scratch our heads when Jesus says that this sheep-owner would leave the vast majority of his flock to pursue one lost sheep.
3. what is in view here?
4. 99 non-wandering sheep are clearly safe, secure, obedient believers.
5. and the one is a sheep who has left the safety of the flock and the shepherds care and is in danger.
6. our attitude toward this sheep could tend to be very strict.
7. “He knew the rules, we told him the dangers, and now he has no one but himself to blame.”
8. if he strays out of ignorance or immaturity, we may be gracious.
9. but if it is volitional, we have a tendency to write them off.
10. but look at the attitude of the sheep-owner, who of course is God.
Il) “God loves those fickle wandering sheep every bit as much as He loves those faithful, stable sheep who never seen to stray.” Dean Shriver
11. v13, “…happier about that one sheep…”
12. our attitude needs to fit God’s.
13. God could look down His nose at us, but He doesn’t!!
14. His attitude is one of love, of grace
15. and if we will think about it, there have been many times when that very attitude has been directed at us!
16. but an attitude change makes no impact if it is not backed up with action.
III. Grace in Pursuit
1. there is a Mariachi song that Jan really loves.
2. called “El Nino Perdido”…the lost boy.
3. band sends one trumpet out into the audience, wandering around playing a tune.
4. and then the band responds with music that clearly pictures a frantic mother.
5. well, God is never frantic, but He does pursue.
6. clearly in v14, God is the pursuer, the one unwilling that one of His sheep (children) should wander off, intentionally or out of ignorance.